Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today In History: Explains a lot, really...

On this date in 1443, a commander in the army of the Ottoman sultanate switched sides in the middle of the Battle of Niš, helping the Hungarians hand his own army a stomping. After the battle he changed religions, took up the crusade against his old employers, and became the national hero of Albania for leading an unsuccessful but bloody revolt against the land's Turkish overlords.

For all this, he got to design the Albanian flag, received favorable mention in Gibbons' epochal tome, got his face on a postage stamp, and had a Hoxha-esque commie biopic made about his life.

Albania is still a mess.


Anonymous said...

Albania is still a mess, and everyone since the Roman empire makes the Albanians stand in front with the hands clearly visible.

Hunsdon said...

History's cool, ain't it?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Ed Foster said...

Dude was a serious general. Albanians are the only people in the world who can go into a rotating door behind you and come out ahead.

Even Hungarians and Gypsies are in awe of them, and building a fighting army out of that collection of terminally disorganized misfits was a job George Washington would have admired.

Although the Serbians were hit harder, the Albanians also lost tens of thousands of their children to the Turkish Jannisary corp.

Christians not only paid twice as much tax as their neighbors who had converted to Islam, they also had to surrender their children when the Jannisaries were confiscating infants to raise as professional soldiers and fanatic Moslems.

After Scanderbeg, the Turks only stole children too young to have any loyalty to their parent culture.

Must have been interesting during a rebellion. How does it feel to stick a spontoon through someone who looks like your brother?

After Scanderbeg died, most of the population converted, leaving only the Italianate cities along the coast as Christian.

The place has been an armpit ever since. Albanian gangs (the country's only export) control most of the drugs, stolen cars ("Come to Albania, your Mercedes is waiting for you"), prostitution, kidnapping, and white slavery in central and eastern Europe.

The KLA in Kosovo went from State Department terrorist status to government of Kosovo, even though most Albanian Kosovars are illegal border jumpers. But, Clinton needed a distraction from his latest peccadillo, so they were "sanctified".

Since becoming the primary power in Kosovo, they have managed to butcher or drive out most of the 28other ethnic groups native to the area. It really does help to have the U.S. Air Force on your side.

Brigadier General De Chastellain, former NATO commander in Kosovo, summed it all up when he said "There are no goodguys here".

And I suspect the mess the Turks left to fester has no real answer except to look the other way until the shooting stops.

But in all fairness to Scanderbeg, he was easily the best European general of his day, one of the best tactical generals of all time.

Those Jannisaries were GOOD! Yet he beat them again and again. Something nobody else was able to achieve in those days.

jakeblade said...

Are their SKS' any good?

Cybrludite said...

With a middle name like that, it's no wonder he was such a kick-@$$ fighter... O_o

Ed Foster said...

Their SKS's are all milled, look just like Russian and Yugo rifles. I'd jump for one before even looking at an AK.

Boat Guy said...

Some of the comments about Albania and Albanians is still current but others are dated. Many Albanian gangsters now BUY their Mercedes to show just how much money they have. Mercedes are damn near the only car that can stand up to those roads.
The one thing that needs to be stated is that Albania is one of the most pro-American countries on the planet. They volunteered to send COMBAT troops to Iraq before we even asked them to do so.

Ed Foster said...

Nobody ever said they were cowards, but I know quite a few Albanians, mostly Catholics from near Tirana.

While lovely people individually, collectively they have some "interesting" cultural delusions.

Ethnically, they are as diverse a mixture as can be found in Europe, but the myth of their lilly pure "Illyrian" ancestry is used as an excuse for claiming ownership of essentially everything from northern Greece to central Hungary.

One somewhat Americanized girl I know feels inferior for being Albanian. I heard her talking to a Polish friend, discussing the acceptance of gangsterism and cynicism among her people.

The total lack of trust and contempt for anyone who is not a blood relation, the idea that laws are only to be obeyed if there is a policeman watching, and then only if you're sure he can't be bought.

Honor killings are disguised over here, but they happen, the the perpetrators are cultural heroes.

Prostitution and white slavery? Perfectly acceptable, as long as the ladies involved are not "ours". The definition of ours isn't even accepted as meaning other Albanians.

Albanian Christians are fair game for Albanian Moslems, as Christians are thought of as weak. So are Ghegs if you're a Tosk, or vice-versa, as long as you outnumber the other side sufficiently.

Like the Gypsies and Tinkers, the world is divided into "us", the competition, and the "suckers".

All the more reason to shut off immigration for 20 or so years, to give the many decent people among the Albanians a chance to escape from a culture withered by a lack of new blood to balance that lost to assimilation.

We shut off immigration in the mid-to-late 1920's, and it gave us the "Greatest Generation". Isn't it about time to do it again?

Boat Guy said...

Dunno. My experience is now 6 years gone (!). Lived and worked there for a bit over a year. I was primarily dealing with one of the least corrupt institutions in the country.
I didn't see the sectarian and regional differences
Ed cites. I have characterized Albanians as indifferent rather than tolerant of other religions and knew very few who really practiced any religion. The Bektashis I knew were probably the most observant and if you know them they're pretty damn tolerant.
Dunno about lovely but there were certainly some charming people.
There were some honest-to-God gangster hits while I was there, but the driving was the real danger.